Contrasting human influences and macro-environmental factors on fire activity inside and outside protected areas of North America

Human activities threaten the effectiveness of protected areas (PAs) in achieving their conservation goals across the globe. In this study, we contrast the influence of human and macro-environmental factors driving fire activity inside and outside PAs. Using area burned between 1984 and 2014 for 11 ecoregions in Canada and the United States, we built and compared statistical models of fire likelihood using the MaxEnt software and a set of 11 key anthropogenic, climatic, and physical variables. Overall, the full model (i.e. including all variables) performed better (adjusted area under the curve ranging from 0.71 to 0.95 for individual ecoregions) than the model that excluded anthropogenic variables.

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